Four children’s homes run by the Salvation Army will form the basis for a royal commission inquiry into how the charity dealt with abuse allegations.
A national inquiry into the Salvation Army’s movement of staff linked to child sex abuse between children’s homes in NSW and Queensland will open this week.
The fifth case study by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will start in Sydney on Tuesday.
The focus of the public hearing will be the response of the Salvation Army (Eastern Territory) to child sexual abuse within four homes: the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys, Indooroopilly, Queensland; the Bexley Boys Home, Bexley, NSW; Riverview Training Farm (also known as Endeavour Training Farm), Riverview, Queensland; and the Gill Memorial Boys Home, Goulburn, NSW.
As well as the movement of officers and staff, the Salvation Army’s processes for dealing with allegations of abuse will be examined in the two-week hearing.
At a child abuse inquiry in Victoria last year it was revealed that since 1997 the Salvation Army has received 474 abuse claims, 470 of which arose from its children’s homes, over 30 to 40 years.
The Christian charitable group issued an apology but told the inquiry the abuse was down to individuals and not the culture of the organisation.
A 1999 Commission of Inquiry into the Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions heard from former residents at the Alkira home who told of excessive corporal punishment as well as sexual abuse.
It has also been reported that the Salvation Army Australia has privately paid out more than $15 million settling abuse claims.
The national commission earlier in January that marked the first anniversary of its establishment is scheduled to make an interim report on its work by June 30.
Details of the hearings to date can be found on the commission website: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au